Long-term Public Good vs Short-term Political Costs

One of the great challenges in a democracy is how to reconcile the long term public good with the short term political price to be paid. Most major public policy decisions have a slow rate of social pay off, and involve instant political losses.  Leadership is essentially the ability to persuade people to accept the temporary pain for long term gain.  While there is no substitute to visionary and inspiring leadership, the political culture of a society and electoral system have a  profound  impact  on this ability to reconcile public good with political costs.

Budget Blues: Hope Triumphing Over Experience

Once again, the budget season is upon us. For years budget speeches have been romantic exercises with grand gestures and sweeping policy announcements. Sadly, there were no fiscal or monetary incentives to promote desirable goals and pursue worthy policies. And without such incentives, and given the inertia of the political system, most grand gestures remained pious proclamations. The two recurring themes over the past 12 years of budgeting have been reduction of fiscal deficits and the health of capital markets.

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